Friday May 9, 2014 Week One:
Dearest Family!!! (and friends)
My first email home!! I cannot even believe it!! Hooray for pday!
It's weird to think I've only been here for a day and a half, it seems like it's been 2 weeks!
I always wondered why missionaries are so so so busy, but now I understand. There's so much to do and so much to learn!
Ok so let's start from the beginning...
My host dragged me around the MTC, took me to get my nametag (it's still weird I have a nametag), and then took me to my dorm, where I met one of my companions.
You notice how I said one of my companions.... Surprise! We're in a trio!! Sister Barker and Sister Jensen are my comps :) I love them both to death. We'll talk more about them later.
Then my host took me and Sis. Barker to our classroom, where the rest of the ASL missionaries were waiting for us.
Man, that first class was CRAZY. ahahahha I couldn't help but wonder "what am I getting myself into?" Our teachers started signing to us, and everyone else understood what they were talking about!! But not me, I was like whaaaat is going on. See, there's a strict rule that we are NOT allowed to use our voice in class. It makes my eyes hurt.
Our teachers told us to walk around and introduce ourselves to each other, using sign language. hahahahah oh man that was so awkward. I didn't know how to say anything!! But everyone was so nice. :)
We then went to a meeting with all the missionaries that arrived on May 7th, listened to some talks, sang some songs, and THEN at the end we sang together "to bring the world his truth," but they changed the last words to "and we are now the lords missionaries to bring the world his truth." I loved that!! So powerful.
I love the fact that I am now a missionary. It's still weird when I look in the mirror and see my nametag. It's also really weird that people call me "sister layton."
Within the ASL missionaries, everyone has at least 2 years of experience. 1 elder and 1 sister have parents who are deaf, one elder is deaf, one elder has hearing aids, and the other 8 missionaries are way good at signing.
It's soooo cool to watch them and learn from them.
We sign all day long. We sign at breakfast, we sign at dinner, we sign in class, we sign as we walk outside we sign allllll dayyyy looonnngggg. You have to always be paying attention and looking closely or else you'll miss something. It's exhausting, but I love it. By the end of the first day I wanted to use my voice so bad. It was so exhausting to not talk hahaha. I love talking.
The first day missionaries are at the MTC they have to wear an orange sticker on their nametag, which let's other people know it's their first day there. So alllllll dayyyy lonnnggg we hear missionaries saying "welcome to the MTC sisters!" That was kinda annoying. I was happy to take off my orange sticker :))
We have 5 people in my district- Me, Sis. Barker, Sis. Jensen, Elder Longhurst (our district leader), and Elder..... I forget his hame. One thing I love about the MTC- if you forget anyones name you don't have to ask them 100 times, because you can look at their nametag. My district is so great, we are great friends, which is important because we're together like 10 hours a day.
Anyways. The MTC is great so far. I've loved most of it :) Sometimes class is hard because my teacher, sister Daniels is hearing, but doesn't use her voice or move her lips, so i have no idea what is going on. My companions are so helpful in class hahaha idk what I would do without them. Our Tutor, Brother Daniels (sister daniels husband,) is deaf, but it's easier to understand him because he moves his lips while he signs.
Yesterday in class sister daniels taught us how to pray in ASL. Wowowo I love praying in ASL!! After she taught us I started to bless my meals in sign and to say my prayers in sign. I love it. It really helps me slow down and think about what I'm saying, rather than just saying the typical prayer. It's so great. I feel like I am better able to sign when I say my prayers than any other time of the day.
Everyone stares at us a l l t h e t i m e because we sign. I'm starting to get used to it. When I was blessing my dinner in ASL yesterday, I sad amen and looked up to see a whole table of elders staring at me.... aaaaawkward.
Oh just a side note, Elder Holland was here on the 6th of May. Can you even believe that? I missed him by ONE day!! Of course that would happen -__-
On the bright side, in the 2 days I've been here, I've already seen 3 of my friends in the past 2 days- Elder Erickson from SUU, Elder Salazar from SUU, and Elder Kasparian- my dear friend from high school. Crazy news about Elder Kasparian, The minute I saw him he was leaving to the West MTC because GUESS WHAT. His mission was reassigned to PERU. He was originally going to Russia or Ukraine, so him and all of the others heading there have permanent reassignments to peru. hahaha so now they have to learn spanish and forget russian. Oh man that's so sad/funny. He seemed excited though.
Another funny fact- our Branch Presidents wife sat us sisters down and encouraged us to wear make-up, she said that all missionaries are encouraged to wear make-up because they want the missionaries to look attractive. I thought that was so so funny.
The MTC is really like Disneyland for Mormons! I feel the spirit all day long. All. day. long. It's like a 24/7 testimony meeting. My testimony has already grown so much.... And i've already gotten so much more comfortable with ASL. I'm so excited to see what will happen t he next 5 weeks.
We get 50 minutes a day to exercise, so yesterday we went running on the track. Mom was right, exercise helps me relieve so much stress. I felt like I was still in college just running and running and running all my fears away. Thanks dad, for teaching me to learn to love running. The New Balances are working out great by the way.
Mom- GOOD NEWS. we get to call home on mothers day!! woooooot woooot. I hope you're excited. I shall be calling home at. So be home. Unless you don't want to talk to me, then don't be at home. I won't be too offended lol.
On Saturday we get to teach our investigator Ethan. He's deaf. That should be interesting. Yiiiikes. My companions will help me :) hahahah they're so so so helpful I can't say it enough.
Overall, I'm so grateful to be here at the MTC! I know it's exactly where I need to be. Sign language is pretty hard, but at the same time it's so fun. I know the Lord will help me to learn it faster than I could ever imagine. I know that if I just try to use my hands, he will help me remember the signs. I love all the ASL missionaries. I kind of feel like I'm at EFY, just having a great time, making lots of friends, but then next week they're gonna tell us to pack up and tell us to go home hahahah.
SORRY THIS IS SO SCATTERED. I'll get better I promise.
Well we gotta goooo. We're going to the Art Museum in Provo or something like that.
love you all.
ps. the computers won't let us upload pics... so next time.
ALSO. they changed my address. It's now unit 82 now. Everything else is the same, but it's unit 82 instead of 42. so if you could please let the FB world know that would be grand :)